Tag Archive | Vancouver

Live@Squamish!!

On August 18th, just for fun, I entered a Facebook wall contest from Vancouver, Coast & Mountains (VCMBC) to win a pair of tickets to a music festival called Live@Squamish, or Live at Squamish…whatever.

I’d seen ads for this concert for weeks and weeks advertising the awesome line up at this 2 day festival and promptly checked what tickets cost…only to realize they were a little on the expensive side for me – $149 and I don’t think that included camping. I let the thought of me attending slide right back out of my head and proceeded to just glare at the ads in envy. I had really wanted to see John Butler Trio, Weezer, Metric, Girl Talk, Stars and Hey Ocean (those were the main ones I was interested in seeing – I knew John Butler Trio after my time in Australia, and I know Metric, Weezer and Girl Talk. I was interested in seeing the last 2 after doing a wee bit of research.)

So when I was cruising Facebook at work, while waiting on hold during a phone call I was making, and I saw VCMBC’s facebook post:

“Six hours to win 2 tickets for Live at Squamish Folks! Leave a comment on this post, we pick one winner today, 3 pm!! Ticktockticktock…”

And figured “Ahh what the hell” and added my comment. “OMG Whenever I see the billboards for this concert I get GREEN with envy! Metric….John Butler Trio….Girl Talk…those are some of my favourite musicians!!”

Later on during the day at 3pm I was on another phone call when I got a Skype notification on my mac, but being on the phone call I decided I would check it after. About 5 mins later Helen stuck her head into the room where I was working, saw I was on the phone and deeked out again. This is when I thought that notification might have been important so the called ended and I saw Helen’s comment, which was copied and pasted from VCMBC’s Facebook wall – “Vancouver, Coast & Mountains: Congrats to Dana Marie – you won 2 tickets for Live@Squamish this weekend!”

Needless to say I had a small freak out. Fortunately Patty was happy to come with me and Helen and her boyfriend Adam were going as well, so we started making plans to carpool and camp together.

Neither Patty and I had a tent, and fortunately Canadian Tire was having a sale, so on Friday we went out and got some camping gear – Tent, tarp, LED Battery operated lantern etc. We packed everything up that night and then hit the road Saturday afternoon when Helen and Adam came and picked us up.

There was an initial hiccup once we got to the Logger Sports Grounds, where the festival was being held. My camping pass was for on-site camping and Helen and Adam’s was for off-site camping…which was about 10kms up the road!! This really didn’t fly with us so Geoff – the head campground guy – came and checked us out, figured it would be fine and swapped the off-site camping package for an on-site package so they could be with us! It was super cool of him and definitely was an excellent start to the weekend!

After we had all set up, we simply sat around for a while, made friends with the 2 Russian guys camped next to us, and had a few drinks. The concerts didn’t start until 3:30 and were split between 2 different stages. We didn’t end up heading into the grounds until after 6pm, we caught the tail end of Hey Ocean, followed by the Stars and then my favourite of the whole weekend – John Butler Trio.

Girl Talk was after John Butler Trio, but I left to go hangout at the tents with the 2 Russians, since you could hear the stage just fine from the tents instead of being in the press of the crowd.

The following morning, with a minimum of hangover damage to myself, we did the whole thing again! I was up at 9:30am-ish, so were the 2 Russians next door, so we sat around, had breakfast and enjoyed the cooler morning after the heat of the day before. Our group walked down to a nearby river with the intention of swimming…but it was mountain melt water so it was bone-achingly cold. We didn’t end up doing more than wade up to our knees and splashing about a bit.

We packed up the majority of our camp things before heading into the grounds later that afternoon, and we met up with another coworker – Phil, and then we all cruised the various vendors around the grounds, something we hadn’t done the day before. Then our group split up, Patty and I headed back to the tent (which we hadn’t taken down yet) and ended up playing cards games with the 2 Russians, who taught us a Russian card game called “Durak” – a lot of fun! After we finally tore all our stuff down, we trooped in to see Metric perform. We didn’t stay for Weezer, since they were playing too late for us to still get back to Vancouver at a decent hour, unpack all our stuff and then still be up for work the next day.

All in all it was a very awesome first time experience for me! I’ve been to music concerts…but nothing like this, so it was definitely worth the trip, and I was lucky enough to go on free tickets!!

A BIG thank you to Vancouver Coast and Mountains!!

The Real City of Vancouver

So last night, after the Vancouver Canucks lost their battle for the Stanley Cup to the Boston Bruins, over 100,000 people downtown started to head home. However, sadly quite a few of those thousands stuck around to wreak havoc on our beautiful city…and many more simply stood around and watched, taking pictures. The Riot Act was read, cars were flipped, many things lit on fire, stores fronts were smashed and then looted and worst of all people were actually hurt during this sad escapade. I linked to a few pictures of last night’s vandalism and rioting on my previous blog post.

These people are not Canucks fans…they are criminals and if you know of anyone who acted with the mobs last night you are urged to report them. And this Facebook page is only one of the many places you can upload photos of the devastation and hopefully these people will be tagged and held responsible for their actions.

 

This morning dawned a somewhat sad day, it feels like there is a slightly subdued atmosphere and most of the true Canucks fans are embarrassed and ashamed of the actions of these criminals. However clean up crews worked through the night to try and restore downtown. As of around 8:00am this morning several people had already started to help with cleanup efforts after City crews worked through the night. There has been a Facebook event made about the post riot clean up as well as a hashtag on Twitter all about the Vancouver clean up.

The true Vancouverites of this city lending a hand cleaning up. Photo Credit to Joshua Berson @bersonphoto

These are the true Vancouverites, the true Canucks fans, and these people are worthy of our thanks and gratitude. They didn’t cause this mess, but they are more than willing to restore this city to its former beauty.

People writing 'Sorry messages' on the boards covering The Bay. Photo Credit to Sam Farahzad @sf14

People have been writing apologies on all the boarded up storefronts, and this was one of the photos of people writing on the storefront of The Bay, downtown.

Thank you to the real Canucks fans, and the real people of Vancouver. It’s people like you that this world needs more of.

Game 7…and a shameful Vancouver

So tonight was the night! Tonight was Game 7, Vancouver Canucks against the Boston Bruins. Everyone in Vancouver was in high spirits and we played a HARD game…there was a little bit of dirty playing…but why wouldn’t there be in a game where neither team had won the Stanley Cup in a handful of decades. We, the Vancouver Canucks lost 4-0. I left while there was still 10 mins left in the 3rd period to try and beat the rush for transit. And once I got home and opened my Mac…I was greeted by reports of mobs of angry rioters in the streets of Vancouver. I was a bit upset myself…but not enough to go around destroying someone else’s property!

SHAME ON YOU VANCOUVER!

We played a hard game. We made it ALL the way to game 7! We have so much to be proud of tonight…and you ruined it with anger and violence. Yes, it was an important game…but it was JUST A GAME! Act like proper sportsmen and women and take it with pride that we made it as far as we did!

Right now I am disappointed in this city…and some of it’s people. Shame on those in Vancouver that rioted, shame on those that destroyed buildings, cars and broke windows. Shame on you for endangering the lives of others.

Here are some of the horrible photos of heinous acts in our fair city.

Car overturned

That same Car on fire

And again

People smashing the BMO

Another car on fire

Vancouver’s Biggest Bake Sale

Once of the signs at the entrace to the Roundhouse Community Centre

Last week, on April 20th I went to a bake sale fundraiser at the Yaletown Roundhouse Community Centre called “Bake for the Quake”. It was planned by two local food bloggers, Melody Fury of GourmetFury.com and Joy of Gourmeted.com, as a collaborative fundraiser for the Japan earthquake and tsunami relief. All proceeds from the bake sale went to Doctors Without Borders. Initially they had hoped to raise $5,000 but after being flooded with over 650 people in a 2.5-hour time frame, they had raised $7,136! So what was expected to be a rather small time bake sale was instead one of, if not the, biggest bake sale in Vancouver’s history.

A few of the bakers and their wares nearest the door

It was a very fun little event! There was live music and a huge array of different goodies to choose from. To find more info on the event, and to see some pictures check out the bake sale’s official website: http://bakeforthequake.com/

One of the cool things I really liked about the event was how they handled the money. As you were waiting in line to get into the actual room of the event, there were volunteers roaming the line up selling tickets. These weren’t raffle tickets…they were your form of money once you got inside! Each ticket you bought was worth a dollar, so instead of fumbling for money and change you simply dealt with tickets, and bought more if you ran out. Most items were worth 2-3 tickets (most cookies and cupcakes) other things like the various loaves and other higher priced goodies could range all the way up to 15 tickets (or $15)!

Almost everything was wrapped...and some vendors put a lot of effort into making theirs look nice

Initially I spent $25, however I ran into a previous coworker, Robyn Hanson, who had been given a bunch of tickets, and she then kindly gave me 5 of her tickets! So I got an extra couple items with that. Other then Robyn I only ran into one other person I knew, Saschie, a classmate of mine. She was there as a baker though and she made some fabulous 2 ticket cookies.

All in all it was a good event aside from the total lack of space…however the organizers were not expecting anywhere near the volume of people that ended up coming…so that I understand.

The following two pictures are of the things that I bought…with the exception of the Chai Cupcake I ate on the Skytrain ride home. The rest of the images are others I took at the event.

These are some of the cuter things that I bought

These are the rest of the goodies I bought...with a more chocolately theme.

I took a picture of these for my sister...she loves cute things like this

This was 45 mins after the start of the event...and this guy was totally sold out!

Annnd this was the shortbread table. All of them were so nicely decorated I didn't know what to pick!

A Taste of Naples

Wednesday last week (March 23rd) was probably the nicest day I have experienced all winter. The sun came blazing in the windows all along the backside of the Think! office and filled the entire space with warmth and natural light! It finally started to feel like spring (although that’s changed now that the weather has reverted back to being grey and dreary).

Some of our colleagues were in snowy, cold Vulcan, a small Alberta town, so we gave them the Vulcan salute in the sunshine on our way to the restaurant

Earlier in the week Ben had invited everyone at the office out to lunch at a newly opened restaurant on East Cordova in Gastown called Nicli Antica Pizzeria. We had planned to go on Wednesday, and since it was such a beautiful day, instead of driving we decided to walk (Thank God I wore comfortable shoes, the walk took us 25 mins!)

For those of you (like myself) that have never heard of Nicli Antica Pizzeria, it is probably due to the fact that they opened about 6 weeks ago. They make authentic and traditional wood-fired pizza in the Naples-style (Neapolitan pizza…I’ll explain later on, and no it has nothing to do with the ice cream). They make their pizzas using only the finest and freshest traditional ingredients and their wood-fired oven, is authentic too – made from the stone of Mt. Vesuvius. Nicli’s pizza is formed by hand and cooked in a 900ºF wood-fired oven for roughly 90 seconds. This creates a pizza with the following:

  • A light and fluffy crust which has a tiny bit of crunch
  • Flame blackened blisters may appear along the crust
  • A soft thin centre
  • 27-30 centimetres in diameter

This is the wood-fire oven in the back of the restaurant. I liked being able to see them make the pizzas

We got three different pizzas to split between Ben, Paul, Helen, Robyn and myself. Originally we only thought to get two pizzas…but they all looked so good that we figured we’d get the extra one and just have some excellent leftovers…but as it turned out there were no leftovers! The first pizza we ordered was the Capricciosa made with pomodoro, parmigiano, fior di latte (soft type of mozzarella made from cow’s milk), prosciutto cotto, artichokes, funghi, black olives, and basil. The second pizza we ordered was the Diavola with pomodoro, parmigiano, fior di latte, sopressatta (hot salami), parmigiano, basil, and finished with chili oil. And my personal favourite was the last pizza we ordered, the Bianca with extra virgin olive oil, parmigiano, roasted garlic, roasted onion, oregano, and gorgonzola.

From left to right: Robyn, Myself, Helen, Paul (nearest) and Ben (furthest away)

An interesting thing to note is that with the Nicli pizzas (or any authentic Neapolitan pizza) the addition of sauce, cheese and other toppings creates a pizza center that is generally soft and moist.  Because of this, Napolitanas traditionally eat their pizzas uncut with a knife and fork, or tear them apart manually and eat them folded “libretto” style. Now if you’re eating a pizza by yourself I’m sure this is a great way to do it…but when you’re sharing pizzas in a group this is a little awkward…I think we all would have appreciated a pizza cutter!

 

Ok, so now to explain a little more about Nicli’s and traditional Italian pizzas…what is Neapolitan pizza or pizza Napoletana? This is Naples-style, traditional pizza…nothing to do with the Neapolitan that is associated with Neapolitan ice cream. In Italy, there is a bill before Parliament to safeguard the traditional Italian pizza, specifying permissible ingredients and methods of processing (e.g., excluding frozen pizzas). Only pizzas that followed these guidelines can be called “traditional Italian pizzas” in Italy.

The owner of Nicli’s – Bill McCraig wants to have Nicli certified as a Vera Pizza Napoletana establishment (there is only one other certified VPN in Canada and that’s Libretto in Toronto so Nicli’s would be the only one of its kind in Vancouver). The first step of this journey is to go down to California and take the Vera Pizza Napoletana Americas Association course – which McCraig has done. According to the Vera Pizza Napoletana Americas Association, a genuine Neapolitan pizza must consist of the following:

  • Dough consisting of wheat flour (usually type 0 or 00 – all this means is how finely ground the flour is and how much of the bran and germ have been removed), natural Neapolitan yeast, salt and water.
  • The dough must be kneaded by hand or with a low-speed mixer.
  • After the rising process, the dough must be formed strictly by hand, and may be no more than 3 mm (⅛ in) thick.
  • The pizza must be baked for 60–90 seconds in a 485 °C (905 °F) stone oven with an oak-wood fire.
  • When cooked, it should be crispy, tender and fragrant.

Quite a few of these guidelines are things that Nicli’s already does, so in my books they shouldn’t have any trouble getting the VPN certification (if they don’t have it already).

The following are a couple other pictures I took of around the restaurant. They’ve furnished it quite nicely even if it’s a little small (and always busy!)

Right across from us was the Bar, complete with wine selection

Off to my left was the storefront and the row of tables against the wall where we were sitting

 

Social Media 101

Last night there was an event downtown at the SFU Harbour Centre in Vancouver that I attended. It was a student event hosted by CPRS Vancouver (Canadian Public Relations Society) and it was on Social Media 101 – a conversation with Vancouver’s top online influencers.

I learned a lot! There were 4 speakers present, the order I met them in was:

  • Natasha Davies – for Peak Communications
  • Raul Pacheco – AKA the wonderful hummingbird604 (and a teacher at UBC)
  • Dale Tournemille – Manager and E-marketer at Coast Capital Savings
  • And last but definitely not least Gus Fosarolli – Client Relations Manager for Marketwire + Sysomos.

The 4 of them rotated between the 4 different tables of students. It was amazing to get to talk to these professional who are currently out in the field and doing exactly what they were telling us. I felt that everything I heard that evening was highly applicable and practical! Some of the things I learned were:

  • Don’t necessarily do social media as a career, but do it as a section of your day.
  • Be yourself online!
  • Drive your online conversation in a way the benefits you.
  • One of the easiest ways to build a community online is to retweet.
  • Don’t ask for something from others if you wouldn’t do it for them. (Like asking someone to retweet a post if you’ve never retweeted anything of theirs)
  • SOCIAL MEDIA IS A TOOL! It helps you to build relationships.
  • You can use social media tools like facebook and twitter to make a more human face for your brand or company by adding more interactions and entertainment.
  • If you are tweeting on behalf of a brand or organization, don’t forget to add a human face to the company, but keep the posts/tweets appropriate. (Not necessarily posting what you had for lunch or if you stubbed your toe)
  • If you want to build links to your blog, use twitter. (Which is what I should do!!)

Those were some of the biggest thing I got out of the event. It was definitely a success in my mind. Not only did I learn a lot but I learned from professionals who are out there NOW doing it NOW and being successful.

First Snowfall of the Year

For the past few days there have been reports of snow all over the Vancouver and lower mainland area. It was snowing in Chilliwack, Burnaby and Surrey on Thursday Nov. 18th. However there was nothing in Richmond (where I live) all day Thursday or Friday, much to my unhappiness.

I haven’t had a good snowfall in over 2 year. Last year we had one brief day of some pathetic snow on December 14th 2009 (I only remember that because it was Patty’s Birthday). The year before that, 2008, I missed a horrible winter with about 3-4 feet of snow because I was in Australia. So I was looking forward to snow, and plus, the first snowfall of the year is somewhat magical to me.

I’m somewhat of a night owl, so at 1 am on Saturday morning I was still awake. I thought I’d duck my head outside one last time to see if it had started to snow yet. As son as I flicked the lights on I was greeted by the sight of a good 3-4 inches of snow, and it still coming down in fat, wet flakes. I was so happy I ran back to my room, got suited up in my boots, toque, and winter jacket, and ran outside to walk around in the snow.

I was born in Alberta and some of my earliest memories are of practically wading through snow. I remember making snowmen and walking to school in the icy cold mornings.

When I was 7 we moved to a quiet acreage in Coombs on Vancouver Island. The winters are very mild on the island, mostly full of grey skies and endless drizzle. However, when the first big snowfall does hit…it’s gorgeous. Trees become laden with snow and all the normal noises of dogs barking and cars on the distant highway, become muffled and silence falls. This silence is only broken by the snap of branches and the fall of snow when they break from the weight. When the sun comes out it glitters across the snow blindingly. I love walking in untouched snow, feeling the cold air sting my cheeks and throat. I also love being outside so long that I become so accustom to the cold and when I go back inside it seems marvelously warm. Our house has always been heated by wood heat so standing in front of the fireplace once I’ve stripped off my sodden snow gear is wonderful. These are some of the reasons I love winter.